What a busy day! We have been squeezed, squashed, launched, dangled, soaked and many other verbs besides! Today was our first full day of activities and, following a hearty breakfast, we met the instructors who will work with us while here at the centre.
This morning, Jacob and Isaac, Megan and Jessica designed and built the good ship HMS Floatie using six planks, four barrels and some rope. And while their boat actually did float, it wasn’t long before the entire crew had abandoned ship by leaping into the murky depths below. What followed was twenty minutes of splashing and screaming as the children tried to regain their places, throw others off and generally soak as many people as possible – including me!
Meanwhile, Alyssa, Grace, Billy and Sam in one group and Kira, Zoe and Evie in another group were launching a new Hollowford underground fashion that includes trousers muddy up to the knee – for Grace – and up to the thighs for everyone else, brown socks that harden to a solid lump when dry and hair matted with cave mud. They had ventured into Bagshaw Cavern and waded through puddles and sumps until they were in the heart of the mountain, where they all sat down and turned out their lights! Scary! Billy and Sam, needless to say, were happy to take on the extra-specially squeezy challenges!
At the same time, Rosanna and Lydia, Dylan, Charles and Lewis were exploring the craggy rocks of Higger Tor. They were weaselling, which involves clambering over the bigger slabs of rock, then squeezing themselves through short sequences of tiny holes. It pays to be small for these challenges, so Charles stepped forward as a pioneer explorer.
In the afternoon, Lewis, Dylan and Charles built their own raft – called, “You can do it if you B&Q it!” and – as with everyone else – their favourite part wasn’t the paddling but the jumping in at the end. This evening they have also enjoyed a mega game of football with friends from their club.
For Jacob, Isaac, Megan and Jessica it was weaselling time – but at Burbage Edge for us. I was so impressed with our Fantastic Fressingfield Four, for, having wedged themselves tightly into a very tricky spot, they all extricated themselves, overcame their nerves, took a few big gulps of air then carried on with all the rest of the challenges. Our leader, John, told us that we hadn’t had a good day if we hadn’t got a few scrapes and bruises, so by that measure (and by the children’s smiles), we certainly had a good afternoon.
Lydia, Rosanna, Evie, Zoe and Kira spent the afternoon on the high ropes, eventually completing the reopened Leap of Faith. It seems that these girls are fearless as they all made it to the top, and they all took the leap; this involves climbing up to the top of a telegraph pole, balancing at the top (and dancing if your are Zoe), then leaping off to try and catch a trapeze bar swinging just out of reach. Well done Evie and Lydia who managed to catch it!
This evening we’ve had a long play outside, half of a quiz and the eagerly awaited room inspections. I’m afraid the results are rather a mixed bag here, but well done Isaac, Billy, Sam and Jacob who won the prize for the best room on the boys’ corridor. Not bad!
Tomorrow we’ll visit Castleton in the morning and spend our pocket money, then we’ll walk up Mam Tor in the afternoon.